The Most Difficult Part of Change Management: Identifying and Overcoming Resistance

Choose the part you think is the most difficult!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 19, 2024 06:39
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinion matters! We know change can be challenging, and managing it effectively is no small feat. That's why we've created a captivating ranking on "What is the most difficult part of Change Management?" – and we want to hear from you! Dive into the dynamic world of change management and cast your vote for the most daunting aspect, or suggest an option that we might have missed. Explore the collective wisdom of thousands of fellow change-makers, and discover which hurdles prevail in the ever-evolving quest for successful change management. Don't miss your chance to contribute, share your insights, and learn from others – join the conversation on StrawPoll today!

What Is the Most Difficult Part of Change Management?

  1. 1
    One of the most challenging aspects of change management is resistance to change from employees, stakeholders, or customers. People are often comfortable with the way things are and may resist change due to fear of the unknown or the potential consequences.
    Resistance to change refers to the phenomenon where individuals or groups within an organization actively or passively oppose or refuse to accept changes that are being implemented. It is a common obstacle that Change Management professionals face while trying to implement organizational changes.
    • 1: Resistance can manifest at individual or collective levels
    • 2: It can occur due to fear, lack of understanding, uncertainty, or loss of control
    • 3: Resistance can be overt, such as open objections or complaints, or covert, such as passive-aggressiveness or reduced productivity
    • 4: The degree of resistance can vary depending on the type, magnitude, and pace of change
    • 5: Resistance may be rooted in organizational culture, past experiences, or personal beliefs
    Resistance to change in other rankings
  2. 2
    Another difficulty in change management is getting people to buy into the proposed changes. This requires clear communication, a compelling vision, and a focus on the benefits of the change.
    Lack of buy-in is a common challenge faced in Change Management, where individuals or groups within an organization do not fully support the proposed changes. This can occur due to various reasons such as insufficient communication, unclear benefits, or resistance to change. It is crucial to address this issue as it can hinder the successful implementation of change initiatives.
    • Impact: Can significantly delay or derail the change process
    • Causes: Insufficient communication, unclear benefits, resistance to change, lack of trust, fear of job loss, perception of increased workload, etc.
    • Consequences: Resistance, lack of cooperation, decreased morale, increased employee stress, project failure, wasted resources, etc.
    • Mitigation: Engage stakeholders early, provide clear communication and rationale for change, address concerns and provide support, involve employees in the change process, establish trust and transparency, offer training and development opportunities, celebrate successes, etc.
    • Importance: High
  3. 3
    Change management can be resource-intensive, requiring significant time, money, and manpower to implement successfully. This can be a challenge, particularly for organizations with limited resources.
    Lack of resources is a major challenge in Change Management where there is insufficient availability of necessary tools, funds, personnel, or time to effectively implement and sustain the desired changes within an organization.
    • Cause: Insufficient budget allocation
    • Cause: Limited availability of skilled workforce
    • Cause: Lack of necessary equipment or technology
    • Effect: Delays or inability to complete change initiatives
    • Effect: Inefficient use of existing resources
    Lack of resources in other rankings
  4. 4
    Without the support of senior leaders, change management efforts can easily falter. Leaders must be committed to the change and willing to provide the necessary resources and support.
    The lack of leadership support in Change Management refers to the absence or insufficient involvement of top-level management in driving and championing change initiatives within an organization. This lack of support can hinder the success of change efforts.
    • Impact: High
    • Influence: Widespread
    • Consequence: Failure or delays in change implementation
    • Causes: Lack of understanding, fear of change, competing priorities
    • Challenges: Resistance from employees, lack of resources or budget
  5. 5
    A lack of planning can lead to confusion and delays during the change management process. This can be particularly problematic if the change is time-sensitive or if it affects critical business functions.
    Inadequate planning is a common challenge in change management where the planning process for implementing change is incomplete, insufficient, or ineffective. It occurs when there is a lack of thorough analysis, foresight, and consideration of all aspects involved in the change. This can lead to confusion, delays, resistance, and unsuccessful outcomes.
    • Risk assessment: Failure to assess potential risks and develop mitigation strategies
    • Resource allocation: Insufficient allocation of resources such as time, budget, and personnel for planning and executing the change
    • Stakeholder engagement: Lack of involvement and communication with stakeholders, resulting in inadequate input and support
    • Goal alignment: Failure to align the change initiatives with the overall organizational goals and objectives
    • Change impact analysis: Insufficient analysis of how the change will impact various aspects of the organization, including processes, systems, and people
  6. 6
    Effective communication is essential to successful change management. If stakeholders are not kept informed about the changes or the reasons behind them, they may become resistant or confused.
    Poor communication in other rankings
  7. 7
    Organizations can be resistant to change due to their existing culture or processes. Overcoming this inertia can be difficult, but it is necessary for successful change management.
    Overcoming organizational inertia is a crucial aspect of change management that involves addressing and mitigating the resistance and reluctance towards change within an organization. It refers to the inherent resistance to change that can be found in established work cultures and processes. This resistance can hamper the successful implementation of change initiatives and hinder organizational growth and adaptation.
    • 1: Identifying and understanding the root causes of organizational inertia
    • 2: Developing a compelling vision and strategy for change
    • 3: Effective communication and engagement with stakeholders
    • 4: Creating a sense of urgency and necessity for change
    • 5: Establishing clear goals, objectives, and expectations
  8. 8
    Change management often involves a trade-off between short-term results and long-term goals. It can be challenging to balance these competing priorities and ensure that the changes are sustainable over time.
    Balancing short-term and long-term goals is one of the most difficult aspects of Change Management. It involves finding the right equilibrium between achieving immediate results and ensuring long-term sustainable growth and success for an organization. This requires careful planning, strategic decision-making, and effective communication to ensure that short-term actions align with long-term objectives.
    • 1: Involves prioritizing and managing conflicting objectives
    • 2: Requires a clear understanding of short-term needs and long-term vision
    • 3: Focuses on identifying and minimizing potential trade-offs between short-term and long-term goals
    • 4: Involves aligning short-term initiatives with long-term strategic plans
    • 5: Requires regular evaluation and adjustment of strategies to maintain the balance
  9. 9

    Managing the pace of change

    Change Management Institute
    Change management requires a delicate balance between moving too quickly and too slowly. Moving too quickly can lead to resistance, while moving too slowly can result in missed opportunities.
    Managing the pace of change refers to strategically and tactically controlling the speed and timing of changes within an organization to ensure successful implementation and adoption. It involves carefully balancing the need for change with the organization's capacity to absorb and adapt to it, while minimizing any negative impacts on individuals, teams, and overall organizational performance.
    • Importance: Critical
    • Complexity: High
    • Risk: Moderate to High
    • Timing: Strategically planned and executed
    • Scope: Organization-wide
  10. 10

    Measuring success

    Change Management Institute
    It can be difficult to determine whether change management efforts have been successful. This requires clear metrics and goals, as well as ongoing evaluation and adjustment.
    Measuring success in the context of Change Management refers to the process of evaluating and assessing the effectiveness and impact of a change initiative. It involves gathering and analyzing relevant data to determine whether the intended goals and desired outcomes of the change have been achieved.
    • Objectivity: The measurements should be unbiased and based on reliable data.
    • Clear criteria: Establishing specific criteria for success and defining what will be measured.
    • Alignment with objectives: Ensuring the measurements directly correspond to the objectives of the change initiative.
    • Quantitative and qualitative data: Consideration of both numerical data and qualitative feedback to provide a holistic view.
    • Timeliness: Measuring success at appropriate intervals throughout the change process.

Missing your favorite part?


Ranking factors for difficult part

  1. Organizational culture
    Addressing the deeply ingrained beliefs, values, and behaviors of an organization's members can be challenging, given that people are used to their existing ways of thinking and operating.
  2. Leadership commitment and alignment
    The success of any change management process depends largely on the commitment and alignment of its leadership. If the leaders of an organization do not support the change or have different visions, it can lead to confusion, resistance, and failure of the change initiative.
  3. Effective communication
    A lack of clear, consistent, and timely communication can lead to misunderstandings, mistrust, and resistance to change. Ensuring that all stakeholders are informed about the reasons, benefits, and progress of the change is crucial.
  4. Employee resistance
    Change may bring about feelings of fear, uncertainty, and insecurity among employees. Overcoming resistance to change often requires addressing these emotions and concerns and helping employees to see the benefits of the change for themselves and the organization.
  5. Inadequate resources
    Organizations may not have the necessary financial, human, or material resources to effectively implement the desired change. In such cases, it becomes crucial to prioritize, allocate, and manage resources strategically.
  6. Change fatigue
    Organizations may face multiple change initiatives simultaneously or in succession, leading to change fatigue among employees. It is essential to recognize change fatigue and its impact on employees, ensuring that changes are well-paced and do not overburden staff.
  7. Assessing impact and measuring success
    Setting clear goals and metrics to assess the progress and impact of the change is essential. However, determining the appropriate indicators, collecting relevant data, and interpreting results can be challenging.
  8. Skills development and training
    Ensuring that employees have the necessary skills and competencies to adapt to the changed environment is vital. Organizations need to invest in employee training and development to enable a smooth transition.
  9. Stakeholder engagement
    An effective change management process should involve all relevant stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, and regulators. Failing to engage these stakeholders or obtain their buy-in can lead to problems during the implementation process.
  10. Flexibility and adaptability
    Change may not always unfold as expected, requiring organizations to be flexible in their approach and adapt to new developments. It's important to create a change management strategy that allows for adjustments and learning in response to feedback and changes in the external environment.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most difficult part of Change Management. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or part is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 157 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each part once every 24 hours. The rank of each part is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

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More information on most difficult part of change management

Change management is the process of preparing an organization for changes in its structure, processes, or culture. It involves identifying the need for change, creating a plan for implementing change, and managing the transition to ensure its success. While change is necessary for growth and development, it can also be a challenging and difficult process. The most challenging aspect of change management is often resistance to change from individuals or groups within the organization. This resistance can manifest in many forms, including fear of the unknown, lack of understanding or buy-in, and reluctance to let go of old ways of doing things. Successful change management requires a balance between acknowledging and addressing these concerns while also effectively communicating the benefits and necessity of the change.

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